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It's a vision problem that no laser surgery can cure, a hyperopia that keeps us from seeing the central source of happiness right next to us. Those who are afflicted with this condition have trouble focusing on nearby objects of amusement and the realm that delivers the most enjoyment per square inch: play. "Talking about adult play is kind of taboo in our culture," says Lynn Barnett-Morris, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, an expert on the effects of play on personality. This has made play one of the last remaining taboos, an irrational deviation from gainful obligation.Adults are oblivious to what they knew as kids -- that play is where you live. "We think it's a waste of time or that we could be more productive doing other things -- all sorts of dumb stuff." We live in a culture obsessed with wringing an external result from everything we do. What we don't realize, though, is that it's precisely the lack of a quantifiable result that allows play to tap a more meaningful place that satisfies core needs and reveals the authentic person behind the masks of job and society.Participating in recreational activities has been connected to increased positive mood and experiencing pleasure.
I caught up with Brown to ask her a few questions about how we can dare greatly as people and parents. My approach to struggle and shame now is to talk to yourself like you’d talk to someone you love and reach out to tell your story. I’m here for you.” At the same time we’re often telling ourselves, “What’s wrong with you? I can’t tell anyone — they’ll judge me.” Imagine the power of talking to ourselves with love and compassion, and reaching out for support!"The whole culture is suffering from overconscious intentionality, overseriousness, overemphasis on productivity and work," psychologist and cultural explorer Bradford Keeney told me."We've forgotten that the whole picture requires a dance between leisure and work." Play isn't a character defect; it's the builder of character, developing persistence, competence, mastery and social skills that take us beyond perceived limitations.When you're stressed, the brain's activated emotional hub, the amygdala, suppresses positive mood, fueling a self-perpetuating cycle of negativity. In its low-key, humble way, play yanks grownups out of their purposeful sleepwalk to reveal the animating spirit within. Joe Robinson is author of the new book, "Don't Miss Your Life"," on the science, skills and spirit of full-tilt living.He is founder of Work to Live and is a work-life balance and stress management trainer and coach.
As a study led by Princeton researcher Alan Krueger found, of all the things on the planet, we're at our happiest when we're involved in engaging leisure activities. Well, there's the entrenched masochism that we seem to prefer, stemming from the built-in bias against anything that's not full-blast production mode.